Thursday, September 09, 2004

I have a chemistry test tomorrow, and I had a question about one of the review problems. We have a "supplemental instructor" (teaching assistant), who holds several review sessions during the week, and tonight was one of them. I figured I'd go there to get the answer to my question. I found out that the S.I., Jesse, is a moron, and I really want to know how he got the job. I wrote an email to our professor to complain. Our professor likes to be called "Rick".

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Hello, Rick.

I’m going to try to be polite about this. Don’t stress; my concern is not about you but about the new S.I., Jesse. He’s not a good instructor. I went to the S.I. session on Thursday evening with a question like (about) 10 other students. All I wanted him to do was help me clear up where I had gone wrong on question 1.74c, and I made it clear that all of my information before some point in part c was correct. However, he wanted to “instruct”, so he decided to go through the entire problem. Now the problems I have are as follows:

I. It took him 40 minutes to do the whole problem.
A. He told several unnecessary and lengthy “anecdotes”.
1. He recently took the MCAT and blah, blah, blah…
2. His calculator has such and such button that zzzzz…
3. “One time I had this professor who yada, yada, I love talking…”
B. His explanations were confusing, so we were the ones telling him how to do the problem.
II. He teaches us like we’ve never heard of chemistry before.
A. My question wasn’t “How do you do this problem?” but “I’ve made a mistake in some
part of part c. Will you help me find it?”
B. We had already heard the “write down all units; it’s very important” lecture. Writing
down units wasn’t the problem.
III. He needs to familiarize himself with the textbook so he knows how to instruct us on our level. We haven’t taken nuclear chemistry, so we don’t care whether or not the proton number ever changes. It’s not our concern at this level. Also, our book tells us in several places that certain conversion factors are exact, but he wanted to tell us that 1 inch really isn’t exactly 2.54 centimeters. I had to tell him, “That may be, but our book and Rick say it’s exact, so please don’t confuse us.”

IV. He likes to look at the board more than at the class. I find that off-putting and self-centered. He needs to open up.

Another student in the group gave me a tip about 1.74c that took all of 10 seconds to say, and my problem was solved. I think that our S.I. session would have been more productive without Jesse. At least one person always had the right solution and procedure to whatever question.

So, to summarize, Jesse is no good and no one cares that he just took the MCAT or that his calculator has special powers. Where did "Gordy" go?

Thank you for reading!
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Jesse is what some would call a dork. I see him at least 4 days a week, and he's always wearing the same dingy blue shirt and blue jogging pants. These are not Adidas warmups. They are lounge-around-the-house-in-my-Wal-Mart-sweats sweats. He's fancies himself a chem guru, but he proved tonight that he's anything but. He's a poser, but no one has told him that yet. He's also in his upper 30s.

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